Accountability and Forgiveness
Restore Forward community based safety and accountability actually means and looks like (expanding and strengthening existing frameworks like restorative and transformative justice models as prevention, through sharing models like the Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that are survivor centered and rooted in community contexts.
We are meant to live in community, that is our inheritance as human beings. We are meant to live in harmony and interconnectedness, not as broken human beings who then proceed to break other human beings. In this world, men are especially discouraged to live in harmony and interconnectedness. The world intentionally seeks to deprive men of this life-giving experience. So when men harm others, and don’t apologize, they forfeit the universal inheritance of joy and connection. By remaining broken and contorted out of shape, they miss the opportunity to fully know existence without violence and love without prerequisites; wasting precious time which can be used to speak with loved ones, to make amends, to apologize, to self-determine alternative ways of being a man, to define healthy masculinity and humility..
Accepting an apology is to reach an altered state. Apologies, when truly authentic and when truly received, can tear the anger out of us. Moreover, the empathy expressed in an apology can trigger a cycle of mutual empathy between the harmed and the harm-doer, setting in motion processes for restoration and reconciliation.
That type of forgiveness and commitment to accountability and transformation calls into question entire ways of being and existing. It challenges, unhinges and dislodges the very foot of patriarchy and racism not only off our necks but also off the necks of those who practice slave-driving and slave-making. That kind of forgiveness is to truly recognize the humanity in all of us.